Sustainability Report: Our Metrics and Indexes
Published and last updated on January 11, 2013
Creating and participating in a sustainability program have been important
steps taken by our company. The most important step is to establish meaningful
metrics and indexes to help measure our progress.
As an industry, Web hosting encompasses thousands of providers worldwide,
but there are few if any established metrics available to and against which
a Web host can measure their own performance with respect to energy conservation,
efficiency per customer or server type, and from this data gain a holistic
perspective known as a Sustainability Index.
The following graphs
help illustrate our operating history and how we are improving our business
on its path to sustainability.
This first graph shows our increasing energy consumption over the past five
years and its increase is due to the simple fact our business grew in that
is important because electricity is the most precious resource available that
we use. As a matter of sustainability we need to actively manage how much energy
we use and determine ways to better use or even reduce that amount as we move
The graph also illustrates that starting in the fall of 2008, the
consumption growth rate of electricity began slowing down. This was due in
part to a slowdown
of demand for dedicated infrastructure (a wasteful component of our service
line) but also due to us transitioning in newer server equipment of our own
design that requires less energy. For example, as our infrastructure grew by
30%, our additional energy demand for that growth only increased by 20 to 25%.
As we moved into 2010, energy demand really started slowing down as we took
offline older equipment and implemented newer servers offering even greater
energy savings. Now in 2013, energy demand has flatlined and even dropped,
as we continue the trend of replacing older equipment with newer, more efficient
Building on the first graph, the new graph shows a marked decrease in average
energy usage per individual server in our hosting environment. As a
general rule, computer technology is increasingly efficient due to micronization
of hardware components (such as transistor width in CPUs) or smaller and more
efficient power supplies that provide more stable service with fewer energy
fluctuations or spikes.
Beyond this, we have continuously implemented server and infrastructure
hardware that requires less electricity while providing equivalent or better
performance when compared
to older technologies. This has required that we not use "off the shelf"
servers, but instead that we design and hand-build them ourselves. This way,
we can research what servers work best for our hosting environment, "hand
their configurations, if you will to optimize efficiency, and perform our own
benchmark tests so we have statistical data to ensure the newer servers are
truly an improvement in the right direction.
With an average server drawing 2.1Amps of electricity in 2005, and the newest
servers drawing only 0.7 to 0.8Amps, this means that moving forward we can
fit three times as many servers into the same energy footprint from five years
ago. The savings are dramatic, when you multiply that by recent as well as
The final graph is the metric that tells the real story of what our sustainability
program is about. As our business has grown, and our energy efficiency per
server improved, so has our capacity to handle more and more customers per
energy unit. Despite using six times as much energy as in 2005, our reduction
in overall energy usage per server has enabled rapid growth of our customer
base as measured in total Web sites we host.
Our capacity of sites per Amp is now almost ten times what it was
in 2005. This means the energy footprint per Web site (and in most cases, per
customer of our shared Web hosting service) has dropped to 1/10 of what it
used to be. What does this mean to the average customer? As a result of our
program, actively researching more efficient technologies, and reducing our
demand of new energy per new customer, Canvas Dreams clients are truly hosting
their sites and services with a greener Web host. They can say to their customers
that their site is sustainably powered and hosted in an environment friendlier
manner as compared to any other Web hosts that do not have metrics or that
do not participate in such a sustainability program.
Publishing information like this can open a company up to a lot of scrutiny.
There may be other Web hosts
that, for example, have metrics that are "better"
than those we have published here. Whether or not that is the case,
sustainability is not about reaching for the superlative, it is about recognizing
feasible within a company's organizational and operational goals, reaching
for those goals, and then improving on it all over again. As we move into the
future, Canvas Dreams is committed to continuing down the path to sutainability.
As we do so, we'll continue publishing metrics on our Web site to demonstrate
transparency and report on our progress.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the metrics and indexes
reported on this page, or if you'd like to learn more about our Sustainability
Program as a whole.